Judge Beryl A. Howell

2023 American Inns of Court Professionalism Award for the District of Columbia Circuit

Beryl A. Howell has been selected to receive the 2023 American Inns of Court Professionalism Award for the DC Circuit. Chief Judge Sri Srinivasan of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit will present the award during the DC Circuit Judicial Conference. Appointed to the court in 2010, Howell finished a seven-year term as the court’s chief judge in March.

Chief Judge James E. Boasberg, who nominated Howell for the award, praised Howell’s leadership as chief judge in a term marked by several unexpected events. “Judge Howell’s leadership during the pandemic was extraordinary,” he writes. Howell also “deftly led the court during the surge of more than 1,000 criminal cases filed in this district arising out of the investigation into the attack on the U.S. Capitol building on January 6, 2021.”

From 2004 to 2013, Howell served as a presidentially appointed commissioner on the U.S. Sentencing Commission, which during her term took steps toward reducing federal sentencing disparities between crack and powder cocaine and making penalty reductions retroactive. “Judge Howell is a brilliant and wise attorney and jurist, as well as an outstanding leader, which has been evident to me since our earliest days working together on the Sentencing Commission,” writes Associate Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson of the Supreme Court of the United States, who wrote in support of Howell’s nomination.

While serving on the Sentencing Commission, Howell also worked as the executive managing director and general counselor of a cybersecurity and digital forensics consulting and technical services firm. From 1993 to 2003, Howell served on the staff of the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary, including as the general counsel. From 1987 to 1993, Howell was an assistant U.S. attorney in the Office of the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York and served as deputy chief of the Narcotics Section.

Howell has received numerous awards. She received a Director’s Award from the Federal Bureau of Investigation for helping investigate and prosecute a cyberextortion case. She has also received a First Amendment Award from the Society of Professional Journalists.  

Howell earned an undergraduate degree with honors in philosophy from Bryn Mawr College in 1978 and a law degree in 1983 from Columbia University School of Law, where she was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar. She served as a law clerk to Judge Dickinson R. Debevoise of the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.